Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Retarded: A Word

Words are powerful.
Words have the power to build or to destroy.
Words hurt.

Retarded: a word.

Yet so much more.

The word “retarded” or “retard” has become a word used to define something that is stupid, ridiculous, inadequate, awkward, different, brainless. Something or someone with a flaw, a mistake, a bad choice.

And 2 of my precious girls stand beneath the shadow of that word: retarded.

A word that threatens to spread a lie of who my children are.
A word that spreads an ignorant stereotype.
A word that bullies mercilessly.
A word that hurts deeply.
A word that defiles them.

But the words that define people like my daughters – those that have become my people – are words that reflect  the quality and value of their lives:

Love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, forgiveness, acceptance.

There is an incredible measure of unconditional, complete, knows-no-bounds kind of love that is found in those with intellectual disabilities.

If you were to spend a day surrounded by these beautiful people, you would walk away inspired, renewed, and challenged. You would be able to see yourself in new ways, and recognize the flaws and weaknesses found in your own life that are so complete and pure in this people group. They embrace us regardless of our limitations.

If you want to know courage and determination, all you need to do is spend time with these people.

The word retarded will soon pierce your heart when you know and understand the devastating implications of using such a word. When you realize that there is a people group that need us to stand behind them to challenge the word that they are not the word “retarded.” They deserve only our respect.

Today is spread the word to end the r-word. I ask you, as a mother, as a friend:

Please, don’t use the word retarded.

It hurts.


  1. Powerful, powerful...I'm sharing this on Google Plus and Twitter. I didn't even know today was the day to "Stop the R-word". Thanks Ellen, for sharing your heart here and encouraging all of us to look hard at ourselves.

    1. Thank-you Amy. It is an important message to share!

  2. Well done, Ellen. Another word I'd like to burn in the fire is "spaz."

    How awful that words which used to describe medical conditions get slung through the muck and mire and come out as jeering, name calling terms. Not just on the school playgrounds, I've heard adults use these words in a not-nice way.

  3. Anonymous1:32 PM

    Thank you, Ellen...this is a beautiful post. I so appreciate your wisdom. Blessings to you, friend.

  4. Thank you for this beautiful post! I also love that video. My brothers have CP and I volunteer with adults and kids with developmental disabilities...that word does not in ANY WAY describe them, or your beautiful daughters. I'll never understand why people choose to use it. Thank you for spreading the word!!

  5. Anonymous12:54 PM

    I saw this article today and thought you might want to read it. Mrs Y.

    1. Yes, I am very aware about this situation and the IDSC is working on a statement regarding this situation. As soon as that is finalized I will share it here. Bear with me, we are working hard on this statement.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. If you do not subscribe to comments, make sure you check back for my reply to your comment.



Related Posts with Thumbnails